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Modals

Carmen Torres

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What are modal verbs? They are: • • • • • • • • •

Can Could May Might Must Shall Should Will Would

• Ought to They are Auxiliary verbs that provide additional and specific meaning to the main verb of the sentence Modal verbs are sometimes referred to as Modal Auxiliary verbs because they help other verbs


How do we use modals? S

Subject

M

V

Verb

Example: Mary could play the piano They do not accept conjugation They do not need other auxiliary verbs

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Form There is no “s” in singular There is no “do / does” in the question There is no “don’t / doesn’t” in the negative

He can ski He cans ski or He can skis Would you like to come with me? Do you would like to come with me? They can’t be serious They don’t can be serious © Creative commons


Form Modal verbs do not have infinitives or –ing forms to can / caning

to must /musting

Modal verbs are followed by an infinitive without to She must study We should have gone the other way He could play football in his youth (general ability)


Form Modal verbs do not have all the tenses

Modal verbs use other verbs to complete the tenses Can is completed with be able to Must is completed with have to You Theymust can come play the early piano They You will hadbetoable come toearly play the yesterday piano in the future


What do they express? They can have different meanings depending on the situations they are used To understand it better we are going to divide them into 3 categories 1. Single Concept Modal: they have one meaning 2. Double Concept Modal: they have two meanings 3. Modals in past: They are used to express a situation in the past


Categories Single concept Modals

Double Concept Modals

Modals in Past

Will Might Should Ought to Had better

May Must Would Shall Could Can

Would have Could have Might have Should have May have Must have


Single Concept Modal Modal

Concept

Examples

Will

Future

Joe will travel to NY next week

Might

Small probability

I might move to Canada some day

Should

Recommendation

You should go to the doctor

Ought to

Formal recommendation

We ought to know about first aids

Had better

Warning

I had better study or I will fail the test


Double Concept Modal Modal

Concept

Examples

May (1)

Permission

May I come in?

May (2)

Good probability

We may visit Mexico this summer

Must (1)

Responsibility

Everyone must pay taxes

Must (2)

Assumption

She didn’t arrive. She must be sick

Would (1)

Past (used to)

When I was young, I would play soccer

Would (2)

Present unreal

I would buy the car but I can’t afford it


Double Concept Modal Modal

Concept

Examples

Shall (1)

Educated expression Offer

Excuse me, I shall go now Shall I clean it?

Shall (2)

Contractual obligation

The company shall pay on January 1st

Could (1)

Unreal Ability

I could go if I had time

Could (2)

Past Ability

She could play the piano, not anymore

Can (1)

Present Ability

We can speak English

Can (2)

Permission

Can I have a sweet?


Modals in the Past They are modals referred to actions that happened in the past MODAL + HAVE + verb in past participle

It must have been a difficult decision They should have invited her to their wedding


Modals in Past : Modal + have + past participle


A last tip There are few verbs which often serve as modals too. These are modal-like verbs They need to be conjugated


Modals-like verbs Modal

Concept

Example

Like to

Enjoy

I like to watch TV

Want to

Desire

John wants to buy a car

Need to

Necessity

We really needed to talk to you

Have to

Obligation

Susan had to pay the rent

Have got to

Have to

I’ve got to go now

Look forward to

Future plan

I look forward to seeing you again


Practise 1. My son ___ be home by now. Where can he be?

a. Have to

b. Would

c. Should

d. Could

2. I think your thumb is broken. You ___ go to the emergency room.

a. Might

b. could c. ought to

d. can

3. If you are interested in losing weight, you ______ try this new diet.

a. Could

b. mustn’t

c. don’t have to d. had to

4. Johnnie’s fallen down the stairs! I ________ call an ambulance!

a. Will

b. might c. may d. ought to

5. You _______ come too early. We won’t leave until 9 o’clock.

a. Has to

b. must c. needn’t

d. can’t


Practise 6.

Children ________ be accompanied by an adult at the zoo. a. Ought to b. must c. would d. mustn’t

7.

You _________ talk during tests. It’s forbidden! a. don’t have to

8.

c. couldn’t

d. ought to

I can feel the heat. We _________ be near the fire. a. Can

9.

b. mustn’t

b. wouldc. must d. have to

They ________ hear him because he was whispering. a. Wouldn’t b. mustn’t

c. shouldn’t

d. couldn’t

10. You’ve never heard of Britney Spears! You ________ be serious!

a. Must

b. had to

c. can’t d. shouldn’t


Practise 11. __________ you like to have dinner with me tonight?

a. Could

b. may c. should

d. would

12. You _________ let him hear about the party tomorrow. It’s a

surprise!

a. mustn’t

b. wouldn’t

c. couldn’t

d. can

13. __________ I speak to the Chief of Police, please?

a. Must

b. May c. Would

d. Need

14. He has arrived late. He _______ missed the bus

a. Must have b. Should have

c. Could have

d. must


More practise Re-write the following sentences using modals so that thay have the same meaning. 1. I suggest that you get a good lawyer!

should get a lawyer You ___________________________________________ 2. A university degree isn’t necessary for that job. needn’t have a university degree for that job

You ___________________________________________ don’t have to have a university…

3. Perhaps my father will pick you up.

may / might pick you up My father _______________________________________ 4. 4. Eating is forbidden in class!

mustn’t eat in class You ___________________________________________


More practise Re-write the following sentences using modals so that thay have the same meaning. 5. Look at his dirty clothes! I’m sure he is a poor person.

must be a poor person He ____________________________________________ 6. I don’t believe that the legend of Hercules is true because there’re

many contradictions.

can’t be true The legend of Hercules ____________________________


Use your imagination Think about these situations and create a sentence using modals. 1. We are going to Paris for a weekend. (Make suggestions about things

to do)

2. We start school in September. (Talk about necessity) 3. Margaret is a very talented sportswoman. (Talk about ability) 4. You have just won the lottery! (Talk about possibility) 5. Peter has got a headache and a congested nose. (Give him some

advice)

6. You want to borrow your uncle’s Mercedes Benz. (Ask for permission

politely)


Possible answers 1. We could visit the Louvre / We should go up the Eiffel Tower 2. We have to buy a new notebook 3. She can speak 3 languages! / She is able to play the piano and the violin 4. I might stop working / I may buy a new car / I can travel to New York 5. You should see a doctor / You ought to drink hot tea 6. Can I borrow your car, please? or May I borrow your car, please?


Modal Verbs